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5 Best Fall Foliage Destinations

Fall camping is one of the best ways to enjoy a little more time outdoors before winter begins to set in. While fall camping may not be ideal for swimming or some of your other favorite summer camping activities, it does have its advantages over the other seasons as well. The main advantage is obviously the beautiful fall foliage that adorns our nation’s forests every single year. A quiet overlook casting a view towards tree-covered slopes flashing the brilliant colors of autumn can offer a chance for reflection and solitude that is all too rare in our busy everyday lives. So grab your (down-filled) sleeping bag and your warmest pajamas and plan a trip to one of these best fall camping locations!

1) Most people don’t equate North Carolina with premium foliage viewing. But most probably don’t know that Mt. Mitchell, in western North Carolina, is the highest mountain in the eastern US (6,684 feet), and that the surrounding Pisgah National Forest harbors vast expanses of deciduous trees. Other leafy road trip opportunities include a drive through waterfall country on US Route 276, south of Asheville, and anywhere along the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway, which stretches from Virginia to North Carolina. Other mid-Atlantic highlights include Maryland’s Gambrill and Cunningham Falls state parks, Sideling Hill area on Interstate 68; and Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park.

credit: Flickr, Jim Dollar

2) Pawtuckaway State Park: The Northeastern reaches of the country offer some of the most iconic fall foliage destinations in the world, and Pawtuckaway State Park in New Hampshire is no different. You really can’t go wrong with any location in the Northeast when choosing your best fall camping location, though. The rolling hills and thick, deciduous forests complement nature’s most colorful display. This area in New Hampshire is especially great for fall campers who want to hike for their views!

3) Housatonic Meadows State Park: This park in Connecticut is another wonderful fall camping location. Like I said before, the entire Northeast region is great for those looking for some spectacular fall foliage. For those not wanting to hit the trails too much to see the colors, scenic Route 7 winds along the Housatonic River (which also offers great fly fishing opportunities) and visitors who choose to drive won’t be disappointed.

Housatonic Meadows State Park

4) Rocky Mountain National Park: If you can’t make it to the Northeast for some leaf peeping, what could be better than a spot in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado? Rocky Mountain National Park is an absolutely stunning location to spend some time camping this autumn. The views of the towering Rocky Mountains and the incredible variety of wildlife and environments make this one fall camping location you won’t soon forget!

5) Central Missouri's popular summertime lake getaway becomes even better in the fall when the crowds disperse and the temperatures pleasantly drop into the sixties. The surrounding Ozark Hills are at their most scenic come fall, when the forests ignite in shades of scarlet, gold, mahogany, and russet. Experience the color explosion while hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding at Missouri's largest state park. Or take in the fall foliage on a yacht, at the wineries, during a round at one of the lake's championship golf courses, or on a twenty-five-mile scenic drive.

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